Way back in our history lessons we all read about Attila the Hun, a ruthless warrior. Well, in our herd we have Priscilla the Hun, a ruthless goat. Priscilla is a friend to no goat, no man, no woman. She has deadly aim with her horns; no goats challenge her except a half Angora doe that is even more fierce than Priscilla. Why do we keep Priscilla in the herd? Besides being a beautiful full blood Boer, she is as tough as nails, and she doesn’t attack us humans... usually.
This October we’d had a long kidding day. It had started early one morning and was continuing into the wee hours two days later. Priscilla had started kidding and I had been there to help her clean the kid. Priscilla and I had a one sided agreement, she would allow me to help clean kids. Over on the other side of the oak stall wall Sassy, one of Priscilla’s five-year-old daughters, had just kidded and Lee was helping the kid to find the teat. He wanted to know if I would take over this job, not one of his favorites, and he would come and watch Priscilla. I said fine and went to guide Sassy’s lone kid to the teat. Usually there is not much guiding needed, but you want to make sure the kid gets that colostrum.
Lee was over on the other side of the stall wall helping to clean the face of Priscilla’s second kid. He then said, “Ooops, she’s got a third! Maybe we can put this last one on Sassy. Priscilla is only two teated and we won’t have another bottle baby to feed.”
I told him it was very doubtful Sassy would accept a strange kid; it had been an hour since she had kidded. Her kid was dry and walking around. We never have any luck in putting another doe’s kid with another doe, no matter how close they had kidded together.
Lee said give it a try and handed me a newly born, very slimy boy, over the stall partition. With serious doubts and ready to dive in and save the boy, I laid him in front of Sassy. She immediately started cleaning him and talking to him! Was I surprised! I was waiting any minute for her to say, “Wait a minute! I didn’t have no stinking boy!” But, she didn’t. She was thrilled with her boy.
But, Lee was starting to have trouble with Priscilla. She saw him lift that last boy over to me. She stood up breathing fire and brimstones. She tried to hook him several times, bit him hard on the finger, even charged over her little girl that hadn’t been cleaned yet or had a chance to nurse trying to get to Lee. She was furious. The truce was off on humans!
We decided to change places. He would watch Sassy to make sure she didn’t suddenly turn on her adopted son. I would go and sit with Priscilla and see if I could get that last girl cleaned up and make sure she nursed.
She wasn’t as furious with me, but there was no way I was allowed within two foot of her kids. I sat back on a bucket and watched to make sure the girl did get up and nurse. Priscilla still threw threatening looks my way, shaking her horns, stomping her foot. The little girl ended up being as tough as her mom, in a matter of minutes, still soaking wet, she stood up and tottered back to nurse. Priscilla stood very still so the little girl could nurse, but from the look in her eyes, she was throwing knives at me, daring me to get near her kids. Soon the first boy was back to nursing along side his sister.
I asked Lee how the adopted boy was doing with Sassy. He was up and nursing and his new mom was tickled pink. She had been very confused when she had kidded only one kid, checking the corners of the stall, sure that she had misplaced one because she always gave us twins or triplets. She had even stopped Lee when he was taking out the afterbirth to make sure there wasn’t a kid in his hands. So, Sassy was finally settled and content, she had two kids now.
But, Priscilla was still breathing fire and brimstones and ready to whip any human that tried to touch her kids. It was a bit unnerving. It had been years since a doe had attacked me after kidding. Later on that morning I cautiously went back into the stall to check on Priscilla and the kids. She had a more mellow happy look and allowed me to pick the kids up and check them over and to even pat her and give her fresh hay and water. She wasn’t a bit like the fire eating dragon she had been several hours earlier. It just goes to show, not only is Priscilla tough as nails, but she can also count!
And, what about the adopted boy? Doing great. Sassy is proudly raising her mom’s son from a totally different buck than her own daughter. It seems odd, looking at the happy little family, that these two kids are from different moms and different dads. Sassy could care less and fortunately Priscilla has a short memory of ever having three kids. But, I bet next time we won’t be so open in taking one of her kids away!